If you're getting by on a thin income ...

joyfulguyFebruary 3, 2006

... how about bringing some ideas here so that others can learn some of your methods and consider emulating them?

Hope you're enjoying a happy, healthy, prosperous weekend - and have good friends with whom to share your good fortune.

ole joyful

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I guess first of all figure how much is a set income each month. If you get anything extra it is extra and doesn' count in your planning.

First things first. PAY
Utilities elec, gas, water, telephone/cable/internet/Insurance/church or charity

Whatever is left you use for
Food, household supplies
personal items

You have to decide what is important in your life. If you are a book lover you can access almost anything for free on the internet or library. If you are a concert goer, then that is a catagory you will save towards.
Try to plan your menus around whether you eat in or out and how to utilize wht you already have in your pantry.
Try and build up a pantry by spending $5 a week. Ex: 1 week buy $5 of canned soup; 1 week buy $5 of household cleaners and supplies
Make a list of things of that nature then rotate the weeks.
$5 worth of spaghetti or sauces will make many meals when you run tight on your budget.
Above all try and be happy and not complain to others of what you don't have.
Keep enriching yourself by attending your church or place of worship or continuing a daily devotional study on your own.
I'm sure others can add to this list
Also there is place available in many areas where you can get a nice supply of food for very little money. Check it out.


Here is a link that might be useful: Angel Food Ministries

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 1:14AM
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Minnie, you have some really good ideas.

About the Angel Food Ministries.. I've looked at their menus many times and I never can see where there is much of a savings.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 10:43PM
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I think it is good for those who don't know how to buy ala a menu or aren't good at buying more than one thing at time. and also nice to buy one to give to a family in need.
I've never utilized it.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 12:00AM
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I try to buy more than I need at the moment of staples when they are on special.

Have a freezer that was in Uncle's home at his death.

Trouble is - to know where to find what you want, when you want it!

Good wishes for the smooth workings of your frugality.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 3:45PM
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I keep several different kinds of dried beans on hand and we have beans and cornbread twice a week. We usually have greens or cabbage with it. Makes a good, cheap, and healthy meal.
Minnie, some of the ladies on another forum I visit think the angel boxes are great. You are right, they would be nice for a family in need.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 8:48PM
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I thought I'd post the package for this month from the Angel Food place. Someone on an AOL Board was arguing that it is only for "poor" people, another wrote the company and got this reply:

Anyone qualifies for Angel Food.
There are no criteria to meet.
The food is paid for firs then it is ordered so you would not be taking from others.
God Bless You!

Also someone thought it wasn't much of a bargain. Around here 6 Hot pockets would be at least $12.00

February 2006 Menu (General Only)
(4) 5 oz. Ribeye Steaks
(4) 4 oz. Bacon-Wrapped Pork Filets
(1) 3 lbs. Breaded Frying Chicken
(6) 5.5 oz. Hot Pocket Subs
(1) 4 lbs. I.Q.F. Chicken Thighs
(1) 8 oz. Fish Nuggets
(1) 10.8 oz. Mushroom Gravy
(1) 28 oz. Pasta Sauce (1) 16 oz. Pasta
(1) 16 oz. White Rice
(1) 8 oz. Corn Muffin Mix
(1) 16 oz. Peas & Carrots
(1) 16 oz. Cut Sweet Corn
(1) 24 oz. Tater Tots
(1) 2 lbs. Onions
(1) Dozen Eggs
(1) 28 oz. Pie or Cake
*I.Q.F. - Individually Quick Frozen

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 4:54PM
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Here's what I do, not necessarily to save money, but because I don't like to cook every day. At Costco, I buy large packages of chicken breast, salmon and lean ground meat. I repackage chicken and salmon into smaller baggies. The ground meat I cook in two separate large pots: one with no seasonings which I can use for spaghetti or whatever, the other I cook with seasonings, diced potatoes and sometimes add tofu, which I use for tacos. When cool, both pots of ground meat are then put into smaller size baggies and frozen for meals. Some times I also make hamburger paddies and wrap individually and freeze. Guess I save on gas (stove and car) by doing this.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 4:58PM
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.that's the way to go eloise. I sometimes buy a big bag of made ravioli and then make smaller baggies of one serving proportions along with enough sauce so all I have to do is take one out and micro it

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 8:16PM
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I like to cook and I like to eat, preferring fresh, healthful and tasty food. I am also independently poor.
As yesican, I believe beans and other legumes are a good thing to utilize for inexpensive meals, for variety I like lentils and I like pasta.
Condiments and seasonings are what makes food special; I buy mine in bulk at the healthfood store, as well as the legumes and rice.
I discovered a long time ago that price per pound is not the best way to determine how expensive an item is, it's price per meal or or per person.
As long as I have good olive oil, usually there is a sale, and a small amount of butter I am a happy camper.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 10:25AM
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It seems to me that it's the price per unit of healthful nutrition that counts.

Plain food is often more nutritiious, as well as being less costly.

And ingenuity helps a lot.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 2:20PM
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Possibly some of you current visitors may have some good ideas to add.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 4:54PM
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Is there any one here that supplements their income by doing at home jobs over the internet?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:35AM
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I would suggest the following:

Visit as many frugality sites on the net as possible to learn many tips on lowering your bills.

Learn the art of couponing to help lower your food and other bills.

Learn to do the drugstore rebates so you never have to pay for drugstore items. My first month netted me over $150 worth of items. hotcouponworld.com is a good place to learn how to master this.

Send for internet freebies they help supplement your grocery and other bills and make good stocking stuffers at holiday time. walmart.com, free grabber.com, and todaysfreebies.com list lots of freebies.

Buy a bread maker, yogurt maker (try Ebay) and learn to garden. If you don't have space in your yard, buy an earth box which is a simple container gardening system. You can grow 50 lbs of produce in one box. I got mine at HSN. With these 3 items, you can make cheap bread, yogurt and grow all of your potatoes and vegetables.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 5:11PM
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Great posting!

Our freezers are our "getting by" champs. They ensure us eating healthy and reduce time/gas on the road shopping. When we shop at our natural food store (35 mile s away), we pack a lunch and get coffee as a treat.

Ole joyful, I sewed some nylon windbreaker fabric tote bags (with handles) for goods in our freezers. These bags are sized close to the std paper grocery bag. Frozen fruits/veggies go into one, beef in another Ckn in another etc. These bags are at the bottoms of the freezers. (Easy to pull up from the base of the chest freezer). Also, I keep a posted list of where major items are on the freezer.

Ready to eat meals (burritos, pizzas, soups, sandwiches, cooked rice, barley pilaf, breads, chutneys, jams etc), are on the top shelves or top of chest freezer. These meals are all made from scratch.

Am flavor and nutritionally obsessive and enjoy cooking simple/plain food of many nations. Every 3-4 weeks, I have a baking day and make breads, kringles, cookies, cornbread, etc. DH is the greatest pan washer!

Our garden provides most of our frozen bounty. Chickens are the main meat we raise.

To simplify packaging, I save rectangular icecream cartons (Breyers) and the half gallon milk cartons (org), for the frozen goods. In an icecream carton, I can pack 6 ziplock snack bags each with 1 cup of crushed raspberries with 1 Tblsp maple syrup. Top with a piece of closed cell foam and rubber band lid in place. Label and date. These all stack so well. In a half gal carton, I can pack one cut up fryer, minus the back and wingtips, in a heavy gallon plastic bag. Roasters are double bagged in heavy plastic. After freezing solid, they are placed in one of the tote bags labeled CKN. A half gallon milk carton is great for storing a quart of soup (I almost never cook less than 1 1/2 gal of soup at a time), with the sides partially cut down.

Plan to look into the earthbox. Sounds like it might be worth the investment.

cella jane

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 7:57PM
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Use public services that are available to you. Our new home is a mile off the bus line and I'm not able to get to it by myself. But I qualify for Paratransit which is a door to door service provided by our public bus system. I'm having a bit of a problem "swallowing my pride" and using the service. But if I want to get out while my wife is at work I'm going to have to do it. Our sales tax pays for the system so there's no separate fee charged for the service. Tom

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 10:11AM
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How I get by on a thin income. Was to move to another country where the cost of living is very low. My pension was enough to build a new house with pool and gives a good life stile. Growing my own food and no frost or cold weather.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 10:54PM
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Wow, I guess defination of 'thin' income varies -

One of the things I do (or don't do!), I do NOT read all the sales ads that arrive weekly in my mail - rather they get "tossed aside" until I decide I need something (fm grocery store), THEN I look to see if 'on sale'.
I started this habit several years ago, and it has saved me a LOT of money! If you don't 'see' it, it will not tempt you to go buy that "OH! THAT'S A REALLY GREAT PRICE" item. By the time I see the 'really great price item, it has expired...so, I go without/make do with what I have.

My attitude is 'DARN! I missed that one...Oh well, I saved money, and there will be another sale one day!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 7:53AM
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I'm more inclined to look at the sales flyers, skipping all of the stuff that I'm not interested in, (mostly, the processed stuff) and buying extra of the mostly fairly basic stuff that I use that's really on sale, so that I can use the stuff that I bought on sale for a month or so, possibly more.

My menu often relates somewhat to which of the staples that I bought on sale.

For example, a month ago son and I were in a discount grocery and bought some 10 kg. (22 lb.) bags all purpose flour at under $4.00 (I still had over half of a bag at home), as we each use a bread maker.

The flyer said that it included whole wheat flour, and each of us use some in each batch ... but they didn't have any, and hadn't for a long time. Probably won't get it, either.

Usually the whole wheat costs about $8.00 or more per bag, but I found some today at under $6.00 ... so bought two bags. If son doesn't want one, I'll use it, though not until about next spring, I expect.

Good wishes for making your dollars stretch a lo-o-on-n-g-g way!

Have yourselves a good weekend, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 8:47PM
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We have always tried to get along on a "thin income" even when we had two incomes. We do not skimp on quality of food however because we consider good health of prime importance. I believe the reason we are as healthy as we are is that we eat healthily and take supplements. Yes they do cost, but since we take no prescription drugs we feel it is a better way. We buy what we use regularly in bulk, freeze extras, cook extras and freeze. I buy veggies in bulk at the farm market and freeze. We buy whole lambs and a side of beef sometimes for the freezer. We only use powdered milk, never buy whole milk. We eat almost no junk food, very little sugar or anything "white" and I've even (almost) gotten over my cravings for candy and sweets! There are none in the house so it doesn't matter if I crave them! DH makes his own wine which is a huge savings over the per bottle price. We take coffee, water, or other drinks, healthy snacks and sometimes even lunch with us on trips. The junkiest thing we eat is when we share a portion of chicken strips and fries at Costco while shopping.

I think it's necessary to learn which foods are healthiest, avoid most processed foods, eat less meat, and cut out sweets. It's a healthier and less expensive way to live.

I never use as much detergent in the washer as is recommended and our clothes are clean. We have completely switched over to compact fluorescent bulbs which are initially expensive to buy but take much less electricity. We heat our home with wood which is from our land, but it involves chainsaw costs and DH's labor. We try not to make unneccessary trips to town but public transit is not an option. I no longer take any magazine subscriptions but borrow lots from the library and occasionally buy one.

We find that consciously trying to downsize cuts down on a lot of purchases. It's just stuff we don't need. We still yard sale a bit but if I get tired of it I can sell it for what I paid for it, sometimes more if I've improved it. We don't travel as far afield for YS as we used to before gas prices went up.

I think when trying to save money and not buy the extras one should find ways to reward yourself so you do not feel deprived. There are lots of free things out there if you look.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 10:14PM
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This is the first time I noticed the 'retirement' forum! I too, have to scrimp. I was injured several years ago at work, and broke my neck. I am downsizing- my 4 bedroom home is no longer a 'dream', but a burden. It is paid for, thank goodness, as I cannot imagine other people who are on Social Security Disability having to pay a mortgage! I will be selling this house in Wyoming, and moving to Texas to build a 800ft2 house. I don't know that living the way that I will, would be good for other people, but I'll tell you what I plan to do. Sell this house (Wyoming). I will move to Texas, propbably some place between San Antonio and Austin (Austin is out because of high costs, unless any of you know of a way to live there). Build a small 800ft2 metal building- the same kind that barns, storage, garages are made from. It will be on a concrete slab, I will stain the concrete, so there will be no carpet/tile expense. (That is both for cost and severe asthma). There will be no interior walls, except for a bathroom, to save on building costs. Will try to do as much as I can, which is not much. If I am in Bexar County, I will be able to get a free water saving toilet from SAW. Buy a small, 'split' air conditioning unit, so there will be no central air to have to run through the house. I have been researching how to build with the lowest cost. I know of no 'plans' to help you build. I am trying to build for my health(allergic to 91 different things/severe asthma). The property taxes in Texas are horrible- even a small home would be about $3,000- 1/4th my income. I will try to get 11 acres on a privious 'ag exempt' property. That means I will have to raise '3 livestock'- 3 horses, 3 cattle- 3 hogs- whatever. I want to be legal. I will have to put out the cost to raise them, and then sell. I hope that will work, because I rarely eat meat- maybe once every month or two. I probably will not be able to be by a public transportation service, but that would sure be nice- saves gas. As far as food/household items, it does not make sense for me to have a Costco card, as it is just me- too many of their items are in such big bulk that it would go stale/bad. Works well for families like joyfulguy, but for a single person I am really good at buying on sale. Lately, I have found out that we really can go without- it doesn't kill ya! I really didn't need all those clothes that I accumulated while I was working! To the church they went! It will make things cleaner, and help me to be able to build a smaller place! The healthfood stores are good to buy organic, but a bit too expensive. Which is the way to go??? Use the library, or the computer- the computer is my one splurge- it keeps me in contact with the world. I used to use a wood stove, but now unable to chop/split wood- hopefully in Texas, I will not need to use a 'warmer' much, and will be able to do wood again. This was the first time I had heard of Angel Food- I will apply when I get there. I do not have a printer, so right now I cannot use coupons to shop, but somehow will try to find a way. It makes no sense to use the library computer, as they charge 15 cents for each printout. I will keep reading your site, and learn of other ways to save. If any of you can think of other ways to save, I am very happy to do so.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 3:10PM
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There was a TV show recently about the "halving principle" which I'll share. The idea is to use only half as much of products such as shampoo and toothpaste. Then if that works half it again, and again until the product no longer works. Then increase enough so it works. I've been doing this for years and it's so much a part of my life I forgot to mention it earlier. In the TV show it was mentioned as a way to consume less for the sake of the planet and is certainly a money-saving measure.

ilmbg, would it be a possibility to grow some of your own vegetables? If you have a few livestock you have a ready supply of fertilizer. One thing I wonder about is why you have chosen Texas as a place to live if property taxes are so very high there? Since that is a fixed cost it would be better if it were a lower fixed cost.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 11:58PM
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Just to keep things straight - joyful guy li9ves alone.

No, he doesn't have 9 lives ... don't be catty, now ... that was just a slip of the finger!

I goofed two days ago.

There's been some water coming into the basement during rains and my landlord was to come to look at it after working in the shop ... he forgot.

I'd put about 4 ripened tomatoes, of the hundreds of them ripening in several boxes and trays in the house, into a plastic grocery bag and put it by the back door to give to him.

Next day I took them to the shop to give to him.

I'd made the mistake of putting an acorn squash into the bag, as well.

Sort of partially squashed a couple of the tomatoes.


After all of that picking, hauling, washing, sorting into trays, then moving them outside a couple of times on warm days, etc.

Oh, well - you win a few ... and you lose a few.

Hope you're looking forward to a happy weekend.

One nice thing about being retired ...

... every _ day _ is _ weekend!

Start planning now, and implementing the plan, to retire early.

Who knows when your employer may outsource your job to some offshore location?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 3:55PM
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I found the "Harvest Forum, Vegetable and Fruit Forums" here about 2 or 3 years ago - just about the time I retired at 82. Was working at home - but actually, now I find since retirement, I can live better than before. Believe me, I had a pretty fair income, but also a hefty income tax. Then there was clothes, gasoline, car expense, etc., etc.

Now I spend time raising a garden - composting my garden waste, harvesting fruits and vegetables - canning. We eat well - and it's so much better tasting. I really enjoy my own meals with all of the wonderful side dishes that taste the way they should. You would be surprised how fresh food preserved makes life more enjoyable.

I keep 3 chickens, that give us all the eggs we want for 2 to 3 people - plus give to friends who like really fresh eggs. What a pleasure at my age to have such nice food to eat. It is one of the best pleasures I have.

Although the chick feed costs a bit - we find a lot of cast off food - from stores to be the perfect way to cut down on the feed. Most of these items are still in good condition, just 1 or 2 days outdated. They are frozen and used as feed. If not edible, they still go to feed the worm bins - and the fertilizer from the bins is used to grow and fertilize fruit trees and vegetable growing boxes.

Life is good. I came to the conclusion that a home/garden/retirment properly managed can be - not only fun but very satisfying.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 6:33PM
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Enjoyed your little chat come back and add somemore to the forum and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 3:03AM
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Hi Bejay,

Yes, gardening is fun, keeps one active, is environmentally sound, provides quality food ...

... and saves money.

For what more could one ask?

I had a garden this summer, in what used to be old uncle's barnyard.

Have had hundreds of tomatoes ripening in the house, made up some stewed ones the other day, froze some and had soup for supper.

Had several trays ready to take to church last Sunday, but one cancelled due to snow and blow (they phoned me) and when I tried to go to the other, wheels were spinning when I was about 20' from the garage - I was cutting a channel through the snow bank. Managed to get myself out without trouble (I've driven in snow before) and decided that wisdom would be the better part of valour ... so stayed home.

Anyone want a couple of trays of tomatoes?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 4:03PM
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